Engel homers, Abreu delivers pair of RBI doubles as White Sox win series, improve to 38-24
Here was the White Sox’ immediate response to losing another key player to a major injury:
A perfect first inning from left-hander Dallas Keuchel and a three-run first for the offense in the bottom of the inning against Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu in a 5-2 victory Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing from there, but the bullpen closed out an important victory that gave the Sox (38-24) a series win over a 31-29 team.
Keuchel retired the first eight batters he faced and notched a season-high eight strikeouts but had to log extra work because third baseman Yoan Moncada thought there were two outs when Randal Grichuk hit a potential double play ground ball directly to him in the sixth inning with the Sox protecting a 3-1 lead. Instead of throwing to second, Moncada threw to first to retire Grichuk, then took a couple steps toward the Sox dugout.
Keuchel looked around wondering what was going on, then gave up an RBI single to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. After a walk, Keuchel retired Riley Adams on a fly to center with his 104th pitch and walked off the mound straight to the clubhouse, yelling a few things along the way.
The mistake did not prove costly. Doubles by Yermin Mercedes, batting second in one of Nick Madrigal’s spots in his return to the lineup after a day on the bench, and then Jose Abreu before catcher Yasmani Grandal’s sixth homer made it 3-0 in the first. Adam Engel homered in the seventh and Abreu collected his 48th RBI with his second double, scoring Tim Anderson from first in the eighth inning.
Hours after learning Madrigal landed on the 60-day injured list, Keuchel (5-1, 4.14 ERA) allowed two runs on six hits and two walks. Evan Marshall and Codi Heuer faced the minimum over the seventh and eighth innings and closer Liam Hendriks collected his AL-best 16th save with a scoreless ninth.
Right-hander Michael Kopech, who hasn’t pitched since May 26 because of a hamstring strain will resume throwing bullpens “in the coming days” and possibly a sim game, general manager Rick Hahn said.
“We want to see how those go first before we decide whether it makes sense for him to go out on a rehab assignment or we’re able to get enough work done here to be able to just activate him back to the roster,” Hahn said. “So he’s making progress, and that’s the next phase that he’s moving into now.”
Rash of injuries
Nick Madrigal is the latest Sox to suffer a hamstring injury, joining Adam Engel, Tim Anderson, Michael Kopech and Billy Hamilton to be sidelined this season. And Luis Robert is out with a hip flexor strain.
The Sox aren’t the only team hit by the rash of soft tissue injuries but Hahn, chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, vice president Ken Williams and Sox sports performance personnel are examining internally what the causes might be.
“We don’t have any conclusions yet but it’s an extremely fair question,” Hahn said.
“It’s not just a White Sox problem per se,” Hahn said. “There also is the element of bad luck or bad clustered luck of these things piling on top of each other.”